Drakes & Ladders

Since the introduction of multiplayer into Uncharted 2 the series has delivered action packed, almost cinematic gameplay to a dedicated group of fans. While not for everybody, there was always plenty of people online shooting, jumping and taunting it out with the heroes and villains of the Uncharted universe, and Uncharted 4 looks to improve upon this with a whole host of new power ups, maps and abilities for players to enjoy.

I sat down for around an hour with Uncharted 4’s multiplayer beta, playing team deathmatch on two maps with a full lobby. These two maps and one mode are what players jumping into the beta over the weekend will be playing, with plenty of room to showcase what’s new in Uncharted’s latest multiplayer outing.uncharted-4-multiplayer-mode_fmhbWhen you start up the multiplayer you’ll have access to a few preset loadouts which were exactly what you need to jump in and get a taste of nearly everything. I tried to create a loadout myself but didn’t have near enough unlocks to build something useful at the low level, so the presets where what I jumped between while playing. From the new abilities to even grenade choices, Uncharted 4’s multiplayer feels more tactical than ever before,  allowing class specialisations and role playing on the field of battle. Going in with a medic who can throw healing packs, a support player who tags and keeps tabs on enemies, and a tank capable of laying down a tonne of covering fire created pretty good chances for success, especially against a team without one of them.

Part of this teamwork is down to the way you build you loadouts – aside from the gun you’ll be shooting you can add a range of grenades, but most interestingly is the abilities you’ll pay for with points gathered each match, capable of turning the tide of battles. These purchasable perks come in several varieties; supernatural objects of power from the Uncharted story and beyond, powerful weapons and sidekicks. Buying a heavy shotgun as you watch enemies close in on you, only to slaughter them quickly with the new firepower was exciting, and calling in sidekicks to distract, disable or destroy enemies was always handy, but it’s the supernatural objects I really loved.uncharted-4-multiplayer-mode_b9jkMixing up the game in unique ways, these items allow you to channel the supernatural powers from the franchise’s narrative in the heat of combat. There’s a totem of El Dorado which summons spirits who seek out and damage foes, a staff that reveals enemy locations, the Cintamani stone which helps you & your team regain health, and my favourite, the lamp of Djinn. This lamp allows you to obtain the power of the Djinn for a short time, dashing around the battlefield at the push of a button. Combined with the close range class, shooting with an SMG and dashing in for a few punches always ended in a few extra kills, and always provided a neat escape plan should you become locked down.

Not that being locked down was a huge issue, thanks to some fantastic map design on the two I played. As long as you’re mindful of cover and potential enemy flanking, you can pretty easily dash and jump between cover and even back up to heal should you take a substantial amount of damage. There’s plenty of ways out of – or into – a fight, my favourites being the new slide like environmental sections, and the grappling hook.uncharted-4-multiplayer-mode_stbzI took every chance I could to grapple and swing my way around the maps in Uncharted 4. Not only was it fast and smooth, it made getting the drop on unsuspecting foes by attacking from above or flank a regular occurrence. The best part about all this is the setpieces created; I often saw fights move to the grapple areas, with people getting shot off their ropes and others dropping onto the shooters below. It had a real action adventure movie feel to it, and for a multiplayer game, that’s pretty impressive.

At the end of the day, that’s what I want to experience in an online Uncharted mode. The game has a really solid base of gameplay, with gorgeous graphics and gunplay, but it all comes together in those moments in the heat of battle – tossing in an explosive, watching foes scatter away while allies run and climb in to assist in the chaos. Grabbing treasures while tossing ancient artefacts and quick one liners made it all feel like one big, over the top Indiana Jones battle, with new additions realising this vision better than ever.

Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End’s Multiplayer provided a lot of fun and potential from it’s first hour of play. I’m very much looking forward to getting into it more once the full game drops, exploring all the maps and finding every opportunity to swing, jump and climb alongside the heroes and villains of the Uncharted universe.

The Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End Multiplayer Beta kicks off later today, exclusively for owners of Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection, and will run till December 13th.